A Haunting

Fifty-five more days until Halloween! Yes, it may be early for some but not close enough to others, i.e., me. The beauty of Halloween is not so much October 31st, but it’s the time in between leading up to the day. I love to do things scary and creepy whether it’s watching a scary movie, reading a creepy book or raising hell! Well, maybe not that last part (not anymore at least). It’s September and, much to the dismay of many, summer is gone! Well, not officially until September 22, Eastern Standard Time but with the cold weather and chilly nights one would be remiss if they have not taken notice. I, for one, noticed as the Autumn is my favorite time of year and I embrace the change of seasons wholeheartedly (climate change, notwithstanding, of course).

It’s September and, much to the dismay of many, summer is gone! Well, not officially until September 22, Eastern Standard Time, but with the cold weather and chilly nights one would be remiss if they have not taken notice. I, for one, took notice as the Autumn is my favorite time of year and I embrace the change of seasons wholeheartedly (climate change, notwithstanding, of course).

One of the things that I used to watch, frequently, was the television show, A Haunting. The show features alleged true accounts of the paranormal, including ghosts, demons, demonic possession and of course, hauntings. You know, all that good stuff! To be honest, I’m not a big fan of television docu-dramas that involve the paranormal but, here was one that got it right. It could have been the production value that sold it as there were some very eerie episodes that kept me up at night. I wish I can write a comprehensive list with some of my top episodes, but I’ve only seen the first three seasons! But, fear not, I intend to remedy that “conundrum” and maybe, just maybe, will I then do another write-up on some of the better episodes. But, I forewarn you, do not hold your breath.

Another show that was a favorite of mine was the SyFy show Paranormal Witness which features many of the same types of stories as A Haunting but I remember also seeing a few episodes that featured UFOs and cryptozoology which I was not a big fan of.

‘Twas The Night Before…

… her first day of school, when all thro’ the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse – except the sound of my heart beating and savagely pounding against my chest. Was my daughter feeling this way as well? I don’t know because she was already fast asleep although I knew that she too was nervous. She said so earlier when I asked her how she was feeling about school.

“I’m scared, Dad.” (more…)

The Close Enough (For Now) 2017 Solar Eclipse

Here it is, August 21, 2017 – the year of the total solar eclipse. And here I am, in New York where the moon will shade the sun by 70%! Good enough. I was going to name this post, The Close Enough (For Now) 2017 Solar Eclipse That Terrified My Daughter but that title was way too long. Seriously though, I would love to be able to see the total (100%) eclipse of the sun, and I may have to plan that for the next one which is slated for the year 2024 where I may be able to see it from Syracuse, NY! Seven years is a long ways ahead, but I have seven years to plan! (more…)

That Creepshow Thing!

To take a page out of the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Sreet (yes, I know), my micro-dreams are coming true! Creepshow, released in 1982, became an instant favorite of mine being an avid fan of both horror movies and anthologies. Of course, I didn’t see said film the year it was released as I was only about 2-years old at the time and would not have made my mom and dad parents of the year had they brought an infant into a dark cinema to watch the product of hot commodities Stephen King and George Romero (R.I.P.).

No, it was years later (a few) when video stores stocked Creepshow 2 onto shelves. This film, along with its predecessor, were two films I eagerly anticipated watching having seen posters for them every time I walked into the local video store. I was seven years old and had already been introduced to horror with Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and The Evil Dead paving the way – these films were vital in stamping my heart with the love of the genre. (more…)

Fall, Is That You I Smell?

 

I don’t know what it is but, although it’s just the beginning of August, I can feel the Fall in the air! No, it’s not the Fall and Halloween decor that adorns the aisles of big box retailers with the likes of Michael’s and Target or the neon green Spirit Halloween banner that just screamed LOOK AT ME! as we drove past it. Nor was it the cost of one iced coffee, a hot coffee and five chocolate Munchkins which amounted to a total of $6.66 – mere coincidences and constant reminders of what is just around the corner. (more…)

Paging Dr. Sleep

Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

After a minor hiatus from reading (give or take a couple of weeks), I finally got around to finishing up Stephen King’s follow up to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. After having recently read said novel about the Torrance’s “family getaway” at the Outlook Hotel, I was itching to dive into this follow-up novel to find the answer to the question of what happened to that kid and his mother from The Shining? 

I’ll start with my verdict; it was meh. I was a huge fan of the 1977 novel by King, placing it at the very top of my favorite SK books. Of course, I still have yet to read other classics in his catalog with the likes of Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot or Carrie but from what I have read, thus far (see here) The Shining is my favorite.

For starters, Doctor Sleep just didn’t pack the same mojo its predecessor had going for it. Where the 1977 novel was a supernatural/psychological creep fest that was sure to keep you up at night, Sleep, in my opinion, fell short of that and almost played out more like a crime/thriller that did not pack much of a punch. As far as scares? There were some (a few) but nothing that kept me up at night. In a 2012 New York Daily News article, the author himself, King,  stated that it is “a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror.”  Hardly.

Yes, I still liked it but I can’t say that I am much of a fan of this one. It almost seemed like King was writing with the intent (hope) that this will one day be adapted for the big, or little, screen. There were times where it felt like I was reading a screenplay.

I have my reservations about this book, especially how its tone differed from that of The Shining. There were more than enough nuggets and nods to the novel’s predecessor that made me smile. But, all in all, this book could have been a stand-alone book. With the exception of Danny (now Dan) who is grown up and trying to get his life in order, still equipped with his supernatural gift of the shine, the book would also have worked well on its own with a new set of characters. Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way was that I didn’t really feel like our protagonists were in any real danger. Sure, there were a few close calls, but by the time I neared the book’s conclusion, I was confident that things were going to work in their favor despite the threat they faced.

Again, this was a good read but not one that I will revisit and one that is not very memorable. Being a big fan of The Shining, Doctor Sleep was rather disappointing and lackluster; it was meh!

I made a challenge to myself to read the entire King-dom library. I’m going to place that on hold as I want to check out a few other books in the interim. Next up for me is My Best Friend’s Exorcism which looks like a YA novel (Yikes!). What grabbed my attention was its groovy and rad cover art which just reeked of 80s nostalgia.

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Your Wish Is Your Command!

You’re on a family vacation in Florida where you plan on taking your kids to Disney World. You’re excited because it will be your first time back to the enchanted land since you were a kid yourself. You wake up early one morning and decide to take a stroll along the beach and pick up breakfast for everyone afterward. A walk down the beach is a fantastical notion being that you’re accustomed to the hustle and bustle of city life in New York. Not to mention that you’re walking on a beach in December!

I’m in heaven,” you think to yourself.

As you walk down the quiet beach, listening to waves crashing into the surface, your foot strikes an object. It’s a comical spectacle for any passerby having seen you wince in pain and jump up and down as you grab hold of your stubbed toe. When the pain subsides, you take a look down and blinded by the sun’s reflection off a gold metal object protruding just beneath the surface of the sand. Intrigued, you bend over and grab it. Grains of sand fall from the object and trickle to the ground. Your eyes widen and realization sets in as you have just uncovered a magic lamp. How do you know it’s a magic lamp? Luckily for you there a sticker on the bottom with the following disclaimer:

You have just found a magic lamp! Rub me and when you hear the magical chime, make a wish, and it will come true. You have three wishes, make them worthwhile!

A dream scenario, right?! My ticket to get everything I ever wanted at no cost! I could ask for all the riches in the world – in fact, come to think of it, that may be my only wish I have. Of course, there’s the obvious, wish for an infinite amount of wishes but the fine print below the disclaimer, it states, wishing for the discernible unlimited number of wants disqualifies your wishing abilities and all requests made beforehand. That takes that wish right off the table! (can I say “wishes” anymore?!)

My Three Wishes:

 

1.) I wish to be filthy rich! I know, I know – money is not the answer to everything. But, it is the answer to a lot! It will take care of a lot of problems, especially, debt. I can buy that DeLorean that I’ve been dreaming about ever since I was a kid! I can also help my family in more ways than I can even begin to imagine unless you’re a long lost cousin that I am just all of a sudden meeting for the first time.

2.) World Peace. Can you say, cliche? But, I would love to have my daughter, and everyone else, to be able to grow up in a peaceful world where violence is a thing of the past.

3.) Super Powers! I thought long and hard about this one and being that money (see first wish) has already taken care of a lot of my problems, why not compliment that with superhero powers. I mean, just take a look at Bruce Wayne/Batman! Yes, his parents were murdered, and he can be a bit emo, but I’d say things turned out pretty well for him. What kind of superpowers? I have no idea, kind of a general kind where all powers would be applicable given any situation. Fight crime? Probably not. I’ll probably use my powers as ice breakers for parties, impress friends, see what my wife is really thinking and influence my daughter into doing the right thing, like grabbing her father a beer from the fridge.

If you had three wishes, What would your wishes be?

House of Waxwork #1

“Fasten your drool cups, and ready your vomit bags! We’re going to the movies! Frights, camera, action!

No, this is not Tales From the Crypt, but if you love the old crypt comics and the HBO series (and movies) as well as a fan of old EC Comics, then  you’re going to love House Of Waxwork! Known for their growing catalog of horror soundtracks on LP such as Friday the 13th, Evil Dead 2, Creepshow, Rosemary’s Baby, Tales from the Darkside, John Carpenter’s The Thing and a slew of others (including non-horror soundtracks: Taxi Driver, The Warriors, etc.), many of which sit nestled between other records in my collection – Waxwork Records recently announced that they would be starting their own line of comics! How rad is that!

Issue #1 of House of Waxwork was just unleashed to the public, and I am happy to say that the first issue arrived on my doorstep in pristine condition. Actually, it was stuffed into my mailbox! (Thank, you USPS.) Still, there weren’t any damages to report. House of Waxwork promises to deliver stories and tales in the vein of old aforementioned comic lines from the likes of EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror.

The first issue features two stories of the macabre, Occult Slumber Party and The Lighthouse Keeper (my favorite of the two) – both great reads! It was an absolute pleasure to see that the fantastic Marc Shoenbach featured two exclusive move poster designs that headline each tale. What’s more, a vinyl 7″ soundtrack that serves as a companion to the stories is included – how neat is that?! This certainly makes up for the $14.95 price tag.

My only gripe is that I wish there were more stories, or, longer stories as I was able to finish this bad boy extremely quick. The comic book/7″ vinyl is a great addition to any collection and may prove to one day be sought after collectibles. I am definitely looking forward to issue #2!

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My Evil Dead: Part 2 – Dead by Dawn

Still six years old and I’m already hooked on The Evil Dead and yearn for more! The date was March 13, 1987, and Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn was just released in US cinemas. It was a significant day, not only because Evil Dead II was out, but because it was a Friday! How cool would it have been to say that I saw the Evil Dead sequel on Friday the 13th? All of my 6-year-old friends would be jealous! Well, not really – I didn’t have a lot of friends who were horror fans. (more…)

Sonic Boom!

Windows panes rattled, car alarms blared, and children screamed as the U.S Navy Blue Angels pierced through the skies above! That’s right, the New York Air Show was afoot and, despite the seemingly frightening description in the opening sentence, the experience was enthralling and awesome! While I am afraid of flying, watching fighter planes maneuver through the sky with excellent skill is both exhilarating and gets the adrenaline coursing from within, so much so, that every time a plane flew by I wanted to pump a fist towards the heavens and shout, “Woohoo!” 

It’s become a yearly tradition to have friends and family over to my house to watch the show from our backyard. Sure, it’s not front and center, but it is pretty damn close! Besides, it’s fun running back and forth from the front of the house to back as we try to keep up with where the show is going. Planes, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, corn on the cob, beer and good company – I could not ask for anything more.

My Evil Dead: Part 1

The year was 1981, and a small movie by the name of Evil Dead was unleashed to the public. Did I see it on release day? Of course not! I was only 1-year old at the time! Fast forward to about five years later and the year was 1986 when I was 5¾ years old. It was June 10th, my older brother’s seventh birthday “bash.” My parents, trying to ease the anticipations of a horde of seven and eight-year-olds eager to uncover what presents lay hidden underneath a layer of decorative wrapping, they suggested we watch a movie to keep us at bay.

Like me, my father had a love for movies, and in the day of the VCR, he recorded plenty of movies and/or made copies of rented movies from one of the many local Mom & Pop video rental stores in the area (Blockbuster was non-existent in our neighborhood those days). He had about three cabinets filled with about 500 VHS cassettes that each consisted of about two or three movies recorded in SLP mode (do that math). So yeah, there were a lot of movies to choose. Being 5¾-years old, I was not very familiar with the lot of them, save for Halloween, which was already a movie very dear to me at that age. But, that’s another story for another time. (more…)

My First French Kiss

 

Girls were the last thing on my mind when I was younger. I was into cool stuff like Star Wars, comic books, horror movies, sports, etc. Come to think of it, these are still things I love today! Girls weren’t even on the spectrum, let alone my radar. What once was geeky is now considered “cool” and staples of pop culture. Sure, in my adolescence some girls had crushes on me, and I was not oblivious to this by any stretch of the imagination. I was just too much of a chicken-shit to do anything about it. What can I say? Girls terrified me! (more…)

The Stephen King Effect

I’ve become somewhat obsessed with reading the works of Stephen King. There, I said it. I’ve had a few books penned by the horror maestro on my shelf for a few years having read a handful of them: On Writing, Joyland, and Night Shift –  OK, co maybe less than a handful (don’t judge)! The photo above represents my Stephen King collection consisted of as of a few months ago (two).

I want to start reading most, if not, all of Stephen King’s books. And so, I did what any “normal” human being would do and started an instant mini-King home library. Since my “craze” began, I’ve since finished three of his books: IT, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and The Shining(more…)

The Girl Who Loved The Shining

My Stephen King romp continues as I finished up The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Kubrick’s King’s novel, The Shining. I kid, I kid! Still, film buffs and horror aficionados alike could not help but associate the King novel to the Stanley Kubrick 1980 horror classic of the same name.
 
Let me start with The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I didn’t know what to expect from this one. To tell you the truth (because why would I lie), I found a mint hardcover copy of the novel at a thrift shop and made the purchase on a whim and because I had been looking for Stephen King titles. This book was the only title sitting atop of an old dusty bookshelf by its lonesome. And so, it was purchased for a whopping $2.00. I thought I’d jump into some lighter King reading having just finished the “biblical” IT and judging by the book’s “thickness” figured it would be a quick read. And that, it was.

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Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Pre-K?!

My little girl is going to pre-kindergarten, otherwise known as pre-k . I’ll let that sink in for a moment. I’ve had over four years to let it sink in but now I’m really letting it sink in! Oh and, by the way, I’m the one scared of pre-k, not my daughter!
 
Where has the time gone? I remember her crawling, not able to form words, drinking from a baby bottle and the seemingly unending diaper changes. Now, she runs circles around me, has conversations with adults, bakes (with the help of her mother), is semi-independent and headstrong. Is she ready for school? Better yet, am I?
 
Some things I’m afraid of:
 
  • My daughter not being with anyone I trust (at first).
  • My little one being “out there” (the world).
  • Her, not being taken care of while not in our presence.
  • Bullies.
  • Mean girls. (see, bullies)
  • Boys! Oh God, boys!
Yes, this is a reality and we’ve all been there before. I was a kid once and I’m sure my parents went through the same turmoil when my brothers and I were off to school for the first time. We turned out OK… I think. We, at least, lived to tell the tale! 
 
Sure, I’m worried, nervous, anxious, etc. But I’m pretty sure she’ll be alright. Maybe I’m just paranoid and have a ridiculous imagination. Or, maybe I watch too many scary movies. No, I don’t think it’s any of this. I just know what the world is like out there and, frankly, it terrifies me to death. Like the old saying goes when watching a horror movie, keep telling yourself, “It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie.” Only, here, I tell myself, “It’s only school, it’s only school!” School, a safe haven right? Watching the news and the horror stories that revolve around schools I’m not so sure anymore. Ask me in a few months how I’m feeling! This is just pre-school, I can only imagine my nerves when she goes to college!

5 Stages of Fear

Buckle up for the equivalent of a cinematic roller-coaster! Horror fans know the torturous emotions that await, but they keep coming back for more. While plot twists and scare tactics change, the viewer’s horror movie experience usually follows a familiar pattern. Who hasn’t fallen victim to the tranquil opening scene, only to be dragged through blood, guts and a hellish villain for the following two hours? If you’ve sat through a few horror films, you’ll recognize the anticipation, fear and defense mechanisms associated with horror movies. Get your popcorn and relive the stages of watching a great horror movie. Of course, this is, by no means, any definitive list but it’s a good start– I think. (more…)

The Way I See Things…

… may be changing. Soon. I think.

Glasses were never a part of the equation, or so I thought. Nothing is definitive, of course, until I actually make an appointment with an optometrist to decipher whether or not my new moniker would be “four eyes” to which I would respond, “I prefer, Clark Kent!” (without the physique and the superpowers)

I’m not sure whether or not the derogatory term for a person who wears glasses is even still used today, but I suspect that a few old timers out there still coin the phrase now and then, right? (probably not) I’ve noticed that I am starting to have to squint when looking at an oversized dry/erase board while at work and few other objects/words in the distance are (gulp) blurry/fuzzy. I suspect that the ethos is trying to tell me something (more likely it’s my eyes telling me and not some sort of spiritual manifestation).

This  “situation” could not have come at a perfect time; what with my getting back into reading and all! On the flip-side, I’ve been told that I look rather cool with glasses and quite dashing! (I’m looking at you, biased wife). Now, to find an affordable optometrist under my medical plan!

UPDATE: I am officially wearing glasses.

Mission: Accomplished – IT

As mentioned in a previous post (here), because of the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King‘s IT, I had the “itch” to get back into reading more. Specifically, I wanted to dive into the IT, as well as a few other King books. I have been a fan of King’s since I was a kid, not because of his books but, rather, because of his films! I know, I know – most of the novel adaptations do not live up to their literary predecessors but, I was a kid, and anyone deemed the master of horror gets a thumbs up from me all (most) of the time! Besides, can we say that all the adaptations were subpar? What with Salem’s Lot, The Langoliers, Pet Sematary, Carrie, Christine, Firestarter, The Mist, Silver Bullet, Thinner, The Stand and The Shining (although Kubrick certainly took liberties)? I guess the answer to this question can be an astounding, Yes! Except for Joyland, On Writing, and Nightshift, which featured probably my favorite Stephen King shorts, “The Boogyman“, (none of which had feature film adaptations) I can’t say much to the film/TV adaptations compared to the novel/novella. These are the only King books that I’ve read despite the paperback versions of Blaze, Joyland, The Colorado Kid, Salem’s Lot, Night ShiftDifferent Seasons and Pet Sematary sitting on my shelf (or in a box) for years! All that is about to change. (more…)

My Little Cubby Cadet

My new “toy” came in and I was super-stoked. I’ve never owned, let alone, driven a riding mower so I was a bit “nervous” before firing this sucker up. I just didn’t want to break/run over anything! I gave it a spin and mowed the lawn with this baby and I have to say that, although I instantly fell in love, I need to get more accustomed to this thing as my first go at mowing the lawn was just OK. I need to get it to “excellent” and leave my lawn looking top-notch! 

My wife was bummed because, for some reason, she wanted to be witness to this momentous “event”. Likely, she wanted to take some pictures and videos of me riding the mower for a good laugh as she watched my body hop up, down and wiggle while trying to tame the beast like a cowboy riding a wild steer. To her I say, too bad! Although I’m sure the sight would be one to giggle. But, she will get to see me some time before the end of the summer, that’s for sure.  In due time… in due time! Until then, she’s just going to have to wait until the grass grows again.

On Reading…

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to lay back, kick my feet up and relax with a good book/e-reader on my lap. I’ve had the urge to dive back into reading lately but every time I get an iota of time that (sometimes ugly) thing rears its head up and rips the book from the grips of my hands – that “ugly” thing being, LIFE! Sure, maybe if I had a firmer grip on things (the book), I might be able to get through more than just a chapter or two. I believe, at the time of this writing, I have 2 or three books unfinished and still pending to completion: Jazz 101 by John Szwed, The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Oates and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill). Not that I didn’t have any interest in any of these books. On the contrary, I just didn’t have the time to finish them.  (more…)